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NC Department of Health and Human Services Division of Services for the Blind

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Minutes

March 9, 2007

Call to Order

This meeting was held by conference call.  Tim Jones called the meeting to order at 10 a.m.  The following members were connected via conference call:  Tim Jones, Francine Martin, Kathy Davis attending for Gary Ray, Jennifer Talbot, and Martha Butler.

Members not available for conference call were Steve Walker, Jerry Garner, Ron Eller, Linda Lewis, Gary Ray, and Representative Linda Coleman. 

Others Present for Conference Call were  Debbie Jackson, Carla Parker, Tom Winton, and Julie Kagy.

Report of Entities: 

North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped—Francine Martin

NCLBPH Goes Digital!

  • Digital recording equipment and studio booths were installed and are now in use at NCLBPH.   Information Technology Librarian Shaun Mason spearheaded the effort which began with much research and a successful LSTA federal grant proposal for this State Fiscal Year.   Volunteer Coordinator Shawn Faircloth has been trained and is training volunteers on use of the new equipment.  One of the booths and monitoring stations is designed and placed to be completely wheelchair accessible (pending arrival of the ramp on order).
  • The NCLBPH cassette tape duplicators have been equipped to convert the digital recordings onto audio tape formats for duplication.   Production staff was trained on this equipment.  NCLBPH will continue to produce cassette tapes until NLS provides specifications and ordering information for the new flash card format to be implemented in 2008.

Governor’s Budget

The Governor's Recommended Budget for 2007-2009 includes the following item:

"Cultural Resources - State Records Center and Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

Capital funds are recommended to construct a new dual-use facility for the State Records Center and Library for the Blind and Physically

Handicapped. The new facility will provide much needed space for public record storage, services for modern record formats (electronic documents, digital images, audio-visual), two soundproof studio recording booths, conference rooms, and reading rooms. GO Bonds are recommended in the amount of $32,000,000 to fund this project.

Requirements - Nonrecurring $32,000,000 -

Receipts - Nonrecurring $32,000,000 –“

Key Staff Turnover

  • The Librarian III position, Public Services Librarian, was advertised three times.  As of this meeting applications are under review.  The position has been vacant since Laurie Williams, Patron Services Librarian/Assistant Regional Librarian accepted a position with higher pay at UNC Central University as Access Services Librarian at their Law Library.   Her position has been advertised.
  • Gary Ray’s position has been upgraded to a Librarian II position, with the working title of Outreach and Volunteer Librarian.  This helps NCLBPH meet one of the recommendations of the NLS Consultant report to add two librarian positions.  As Gary is retiring March 1, 2007, the position is currently being advertised. 
  • Julie Harris, Collection Management Librarian, Librarian II position is also being advertised.  Julie has generously offered to continue to work half-time in her position until the position is filled or May 31, 2007 whichever comes first.  She is leaving NCLBPH to pursue other interests.
  • Connie Israel began work as the newest Reader Advisor January 15, 2007.  She fills the position vacated by Todd Clayton as he transferred into the Library Technical Assistant position in the Collection Unit as Carolyn Clay retired.
  • Heather Brown, former Reader Advisor, has transferred into the Patron Processing Unit Supervisor position vacated as Annette Evans retired February 1, 2007.  The vacated Reader Advisor position was advertised and closed February 7, 2007.
  • Brenda Lassiter was promoted into the Processing Assistant III position in the Circulation Unit as Hank Garrett retired January 1, 2007.   Brenda’s former Processing Assistant II position was posted, a candidate approved, the candidate then withdrew from consideration, so the position is now posted for the second time.
  • Lyman Clayborn will begin work March 15, 2007 in the Collection Unit Processing Assistant II position.

A New Look

  • NCLBPH now has new lobby furniture, thanks to the support of the Friends of NCLBPH!  Visitors have commented on the comfort of the new furniture.  The new loveseat and chairs have seats higher from floor level, making it easier to rise from a seated position.  This is in response to complaints by library visitors that it was difficult to get up out of the old furniture, which had very low seats.   The old lobby furniture has been moved into the NCLBPH staff break room.
  • As of February 2007, NCLBPH finally has a new janitorial contract which has improved the janitorial services throughout the library.
  • New partitions are on order to replace the old brown partitions throughout the office areas of NCLBPH.

Since Gary Ray is retiring March 1, Tim Jones recommended this Committee send Gary a letter of appreciation for all of his years of service. 

Governor Morehead School—Dennis Thurman

Not Present

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction—Tom Winton

  • New Consultant for Visually Impaired and Assistive Technology – The Exceptional Children Division is pleased to introduce Julie Kagy as the new State Consultant for Visually Impaired and Assistive Technology. Ms. Kagy most recently served as a consultant with the Governor Morehead Outreach Program but also has been the Lead VI Teacher in Wake County Public Schools along with other roles in special education and general education. She has an extensive background both in the education of blind and visually impaired students and in assistive technology devices and services. Ms. Kagy started with the Division on Monday, March 5th, and will be its representative to the C&A Advisory Committee.
  • Federal Quota Funds – As of March 9, 129 separate orders had been placed with the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in the Fiscal Year 2006-07 to procure instructional materials with Quota Funds for eligible students in North Carolina Public Schools and private schools. APH is coming out with several exciting products this year, including a new braille-based digital assistant (the Braille+ Mobile Manager) as a replacement to the Braille ‘n Speak Scholar. This is a revolutionary device that will offer features available on no other digital assistant. It will be available to schools via Quota Funds.
  • NCCU-VITP Advisory Board – Tom Winton continues to serve as co-chair with Dr. Deborah Hatton on the NCCU-VITP Advisory Board. The Advisory Board met with NCCU faculty on Friday, February 16. The Board is pleased Dr. Diane Wormsley has assumed her endowed chair position with NCCU and is working with her, Dr. Julie Bardin, and the rest of the VITP to enhance educational opportunities for persons wishing to enter the VI teaching and O&M fields.
  • 5th Annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness – The Exceptional Children Division is pleased to once again co-sponsor the North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness. The conference will be March 22-24 on the Governor Morehead School campus. It is the only conference in the state dedicated solely to the education of persons with visual impairments and is a great opportunity for collaboration between educators, parents, consumers, administrators, etc. The Division looks forward to continuing this partnership with NCAER, NC Division of Services for the Blind, the NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and other groups and agencies to deliver this conference to the state. Conference information is available at .
  • 57th Conference on Exceptional Children The Exceptional Children Division will host the 57th Conference on Exceptional Children on November 12-14 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. This is the nation’s largest and longest-running exceptional children conference sponsored by a state education agency. Around 3,000 educators, paraprofessionals, administrators and parents attend each year. Some instructional sessions will be devoted to the education of students with visual impairments. It is offers an extensive exhibit hall where vendors of products for students with disabilities, including visual impairments, are invited to showcase their wares. There also will be an assistive technology workshop and a deaf-blind institute held immediately following the conference.
  • Deaf-Blind Family Conference – The North Carolina Deaf-Blind Project is hosting its 20th Annual Family Conference on June 22-26 in Greensboro. This is a unique opportunity for families and teachers of children with deafblindness to collaborate and learn about techniques and services to educate these children. More information about the conference will be available from the website at .
  • Summer Institutes – The Exceptional Children Division is offering its annual Summer Institutes for special education teachers, paraprofessionals, related service personnel and administrators. Many of these, including one on learning media assessments for visually impaired students, will be held the week of July 23-27 on the campus of UNC Greensboro. There will also be an institute on literacy for students with severe disabilities from June 11-15 with Dr. Karen Erickson of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • RFB&D Project The Exceptional Children Division continues to partner with the State Textbook Warehouse to conduct a pilot project for improving provision of recorded textbooks to students in the state. Due to the success of the project, a statewide implementation is being planned for the 2007-08 school year.
  • National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) The reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 2004, and the resulting federal regulations released in August 2006, established NIMAS, which is a standard by which publishers will produce accessible files for textbooks and other core instructional materials. This will allow state and local education agencies to more easily produce these textbooks in alternate formats (e.g., braille, large print, digital audio) for students with print disabilities, including those with blindness or visual impairments. The Exceptional Children Division is establishing a NIMAS Coordinating Council to develop recommendations for policies and procedures in the access, manipulation and distribution of these files and their resulting accessible formats. Various stakeholder groups, including the state assistive technology program, NC Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, school representatives and consumer organizations, will be invited to participate on the Council. The first meeting of the Council is planned for late April and invitations will be sent soon.

Division of Services for the Blind—Debbie Jackson

Governor’s Budget—DSB submitted 3 expansion budget requests.  The budget requests are:  (1) Change in the economic needs scale for the Vocational Rehabilitation and Medical Eye Care Programs and for a part of our Independent Living Rehabilitation Program, (2) Additional funds in the Medical Eye Care and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs to support the change in the economic needs scale, (3) additional funding for the Independent Living Rehabilitation Program (case service money and 9 positions). 

The General Assembly has not started looking at Division-specific requests for our DHHS.  

DSB is participating in an Assistive Technology Day at the General Assembly on March 28 from 10 a.m. til 2 p.m.  The intent is to show the various types of technology that people with disabilities can use successfully in their jobs and to be more independent. 

Renovations—The renovation work has started on Milsap and completion date is late August.    

Rehabilitation Center—While major heating and air conditioning work is being done in Crockett-Peeler,  staff is now located downstairs.   Classes will continue and we anticipate being in temporary space for approximately 3 months. 

State Council of the North Carolina Lions—Martha Butler

The Lions will be losing a district.  District 31-C will be dissolved.  Counties composing District 31-C will be distributed to Districts 31-A and 31-E. 

The State Council of the North Carolina Lions remains supportive of Services for the Blind and helping the blind and visually impaired.

Prevent Blindness North Carolina—Jennifer Talbot

Prevent Blindness has been working with the Center for Disease Control on vision screening plans and their 5-year strategic plan. 

The CDC will fund a Behavior Risk Survey on vision for NC in 2008.  Their long-range plans include funding an Integration Specialist. 

There now is a mandated Eye Screening Commission rather than an Eye Examination Commission.  Extra members have been appointed to this Commission which includes a school nurse and pediatrician.  Members are determining what constitutes a “screening” under the law.  Also, some funds will be available for examinations and glasses for children in grades K through 3—plans are being worked out on how this voucher program will operate. 

North Carolina Association for Education & Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired-- Kathy Davis—Reporting for Gary Ray

The 5th Annual North Carolina Conference on Visual Impairments and Blindness is March 22 – March 24.  This year many of the workshops will focus on students with significant challenges including deaf-blindness.  

Elected Committee of Vendors—Tim Jones

NFB is continuing to work with the General Assembly on permanent funding for NewsLine.

NFB is also following the attack on the Randolph-Sheppard Program from the HELP Senate Committee.  NFB’s national conference will be held in Atlanta, GA, the week of July 4. 

The Business Enterprises Program is going well.  Annual sales are close to $13 million and the average operator income is around $45,000. 

New Business

Tom Winton reported that Kathleen Thomas from the Council of the Blind contacted him regarding distributing information about their scholarship program.  This information will be distributed through a listserv through DPI. 

Martha Butler also reported that there are scholarships also available through the Lions Foundation for students of blind parents.  For more information, contact Steve Walker.

Old Business


Adjournment of Meeting

With no further business, a motion was made, seconded and carried that the meeting be adjourned.  The meeting adjourned at 10:50 a.m.  The next meeting is scheduled for June 8, 2007, at 1 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted

Tim Jones, Chairman

Consumer and Advocacy Advisory Committee for the Blind


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